If you haven’t started the process of winterizing your in-ground swimming pool, now is the time to start. This process can take several days and requires some work to do correctly, but having it done right will ensure that it’ll be easy to open it back up once spring comes around again. It’s also important to winterize your swimming pool to keep it in good condition by protecting it from damage caused by freezing water or winter weather. If you just don’t have the time or you’re worried that you aren’t sure how to do it, it’s never a bad idea to have a professional come out and help you get your pool properly winterized.
Remove All Accessories
The first step in winterizing your in-ground swimming pool is removing any accessories, such as ladders and skimmer baskets. These should be washed and left out to dry before being stored in your home, garage, or shed.
Lower the Water Level
The next step to winterize your pool is lowering the water level, which is a tedious process that can take a couple of days, even though you do not need to fully drain the pool. If your skimmer cover is mesh, the water should be reduced to a foot below the skimmer. If your skimmer has a solid cover, reduce the water level until it’s 6 inches below the skimmer.
Give it a Deep Clean
Once the water level is lowered, it’s a little easier to see around the pool and access the upper areas where there is likely to be some buildup of debris and possibly algae. Take this opportunity to give the pool a good cleaning—scrub the walls and clear out any of this debris that will break down over the winter season and create a bigger mess to clean up later.
Test & Adjust the Water Chemistry
Once your swimming pool is cleaner and emptier, you should test your water chemistry. Your pool’s chemistry should read as follows:
- pH: 7.4–7.6 ppm
- Total Alkalinity: 80–120 ppm
- Calcium Hardness: 200–400 ppm
- Chlorine: 2.0–4.0 ppm
If any of these numbers are off, make sure to adjust accordingly before closing up your pool for the winter. Aim for the higher values whenever possible, as they will get lower naturally before the spring season.
Drain the Equipment
Filters, pumps, and heaters must be drained before storage. In addition, all pool lines will need to be drained as well. Draining is a critical component when it’s time to winterize your swimming pool because water expands when it freezes, which will damage your equipment and require potentially costly repairs or replacements.
Shock & Algaecide
One of the last steps to winterize your swimming pool is adding shock and algaecide to keep it nice and clean throughout the winter months. Be sure to follow the directions for the particular brand and type you are using, and distribute these chemicals evenly throughout the pool to ensure proper dispersal. If you use chlorine shock, do not add it at the same time as your algaecide.
Cover it Up
Once you’ve covered everything, it’s time to pull a cover over your pool to keep it protected over the course of the winter. A quality pool cover will keep snow and debris out of your pool while also providing a safe barrier for curious children and wildlife. Come spring, you’ll have much less work to do when it’s time to open your pool back up if you keep it covered.
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